“How can you say the paleo diet is the BEST way to lose weight?” One day my physician asked me, “just how did you get your weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol down so much?”
Top 10 reasons the Paleo Diet is the Best Way To Lose Weight
#1 – No hunger
You will not go hungry on the Paleolithic Diet. This is the most important aspect to have in a weight loss plan that you decide try.
Most diets claim to be the best way to lose weight and simply don’t work for the majority of people. Even when a diet does work for you and you are feeling great about losing all your extra weight, most ALL of them are followed by the “stealthy months” of gaining weight back and you end up heavier than when you started the diet.
On the paleo diet you eat foods that naturally balance your insulin/leptin biochemistry to prevent you from starving and you can easily eat enough food to feel “full”. So, do this thing right, and you will not go hungry!
Gaining weight in the post-diet “stealthy months” is caused by the starvation state that you have caused in your body. We know, now, that body weight is regulated by complex biochemistry based on our genes and what we do to affect those genes’ expression. Essentially, when you starve your body for weeks or months on a diet, your body “perceives” this as a famine and slows its metabolism and increases your long term desire for foods.
#2 – It was created for you
The paleo diet was created for you and your unique human physiological needs. Actually, I guess this depends on your beliefs. Die hard evolutionists would say that the diet existed first and that over millions of years (up until 10,000 years ago) we evolved and adapted to optimally consume the paleo diet that was available to us. This is a great argument, but you could also view it as a diet that was provided during creation for hunter-gather humans or prehistoric man.
Either way, the paleo diet is what we as humans would naturally eat over time, if we were dropped off in a jungle (or any other uncivilized place in the world) by ourselves with no way to escape. We would hunt for animals and gather berries and watermelons. We wouldn’t be eating wheat in the massive amounts like we eat today and we, surely, wouldn’t be eating McDonalds and cheesecake.
Eating our originally intended diet normalizes your weight. In time you gravitate to your natural weight.
#3 – 100% natural
Only a fool doesn’t realize today that you should eat natural foods versus anything man-made or processed. But not everyone follows this wisdom. A huge reason that the paleo diet is the best way to lose weight is that you won’t find any artificial sweeteners and artificial colors in it. You wont find any chemical preservatives either. It is a natural foods diet.
Artificial sweeteners, like sucralose and aspartame, have research that is mounting against it saying that they are linked with cancers, autoimmune diseases, etc. Entire books have been written by physicians showing how bad these things can be.
#4 – Most nutrients per calorie
Most diets focus on getting the most taste per calories eaten. The paleo diet focuses more on getting the most nutrients per calorie of food eaten. When you supply your body with proper and natural nutrition you won’t constantly crave more and more food. Instead you eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and nuts which will give you all the nutrition and satisfaction you need.
Compare this to a typical American diet of sandwiches, pizza, hamburgers, soda pop, blah, blah. These foods have tons of calories and very little natural nutritional value. You get the infamous “empty calories” and nothing to show for it. There is nothing better than great nutrients from natural foods.
#5 – Makes Food Taste Better
I was amazed at about the three month mark of being on the paleo diet. I started thinking things like bananas tasted great. Not that they tasted good, but that they tasted great. My wife had to force me to eat fruits and vegetables before I started the paleo diet. But, now…grapes, blueberries, chicken breast, turkey burger, spicy vegetables, I love them all. As I write, I can honestly say that my mouth is watering.
#6 – Exercise is easier
Yet another reason, why the paleo diet is the best way to lose weight is that paleo-oriented exercise is easier than any other exercise I’ve done in the past. I didn’t say that you don’t exercise on the paleo diet, but it is easier than traditional marathon running and lifting weights for an hour.
On the paleo diet you walk, run, and do resistance training, but in a much more fun (for me) way. Instead of jogging or doing aerobics for 60 minutes you walk. A caveman would think we were nuts for jogging forever and getting worn out. Instead he would occasionally sprint, at full speed (to chase a rabbit or escape a bear), and rest. Then, for most of the day he would walk at a sustainable pace. Every once in a while he’d need to move a log or lift a rock.
Lastly, hunter-gatherers were solo travelers all the time. They would have walked and worked with their families. So, I’ve found it wonderful to get my workouts at the playground where my kids are playing and to get my walks in by pulling them in a wagon to the playground.
So, the exercise is more fun, easier, and less hard on your body. Rather than over-training, you are sustainable and have time to rest and rebuild.
#7 – Increases energy
I’m not sure how much of the energy increase I’ve had is from:
- losing 30 pounds and keeping it off for 2+ years?
- or how much is from exercising like a paleolithic man?
- or how much of it is from higher nutrients I get for the calories I consume?
- or how much of it is from better glucose/insulin biochemistry?
But, one thing I know for sure is this: There are days now that I am crackling with energy! And I just don’t get those days of tremendous exhaustion.
#8 – Better Brain Focus
For brain health, the paleo diet was the best way to lose weight for me too. Not only do most other diets make you hungry at some point which makes you less able to focus, but they don’t provide the proper nutrients that your brain needs.
For example, there are tons of studies showing the benefits of fish oils and omega 3 fatty acids on brain health. Guess what? Our caveman friend ate tons more omega 3 fatty acids than we do today in America. [show study]
My experience has been that I feel much more focused at work and much less “brain fog.”
#9 – Decreases risk of some auto-immune diseases
Because we’ve seen such an increase in auto-immune disorders in the last 40 years this benefit is pretty huge. What have we done wrong in the last 40 years? What has changed? There are many theories, but one everyone agrees on is our diet.
Thanks to researchers like, Loren Cordain, we are learning more every year about how the Paleo Diet can decrease or prevent certain autoimmune diseases. Diabetes, Lupus, and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) are just a start of a long list of autoimmune diseases that may be helped or prevented by the Paleo Diet.
This was a major reason I ended up on the paleo diet in the first place. I eliminated things from my diet, based on scientific research, until I was left with nothing else but the Paleo Diet.
#10 – Decreases leptin and insulin resistance for long term weight loss
Leptin is a recently discovered hormone that tells your brain that you have eaten enough. It comes from fat cells in your body, the more fat you have the more leptin is released. Chronically high levels of leptin result your body requiring higher amounts of leptin to signal to your that you are full over time. So, your point of fullness is higher and you eat more to retain your weight.
This is very similar to insulin resistance, where chronically high-carbohydrate meals cause chronically high levels of insulin, which causes insulin resistance over time. Insulin helps take glucose from your blood so it can be used by muscle cells among others. Among other foods on the paleo diet, recent studies are showing that coconut oil protects against insulin resistance.
A wonderful reason that the paleo diet is the best diet for losing weight is that it is beneficial in both leptin and insulin resistance. With this biochemistry normalized it is much easier to naturally lose weight.
#11 – Decreases inflammation
Eating a variety of foods in a way that balances your macro-nutrient intake reduces inflammation (a good balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fats). The foods you’ll eat on the paleo diet will reduce the acidity your pH if you are like most Americans. Low alkalinity (high acidity) has been associated with increased inflammation.
Natural fruits and vegetables reduce your blood sugar spikes which are strongly associated with overall inflammation.
Fish (and walnuts, etc.) and its omega 3 fatty acids are strong reducers of inflammation.
#12 – Decreases risk of heart disease
Who can argue with eating more fruits and vegetables? On the paleo diet you’ll do that, but you’ll eat just the right fruits and vegetables. You’ll also eat more lean meats. This, of course, cuts way down on your simple sugar intake. I can tell you that my cholesterol and blood pressure went down DRAMATICALLY after a few months of being on the paleo diet.
#13 – Decreases risk of cancers
On the paleo diet you’ll get more antioxidants than most other diets let alone more than the typical American diet. These antioxidants will be naturally occurring in food and won’t come with preservatives or clogging agents found in many vitamins and supplements. The antioxidants and other “anticancer” agents in foods in the paleo diet will be optimally absorbed as well.
#14 – You can ease into it (not a crash diet)
Finally, if you can’t stick with a diet, it will do you no good. When you lose weight and gain it back months later, you do nothing but more harm to your weight, fat composition, and healthy biochemistry.
So, it is extremely important that people can stick with a change in the eating habits. Some people do well with drastic changes and sticking to them if they have a big enough motivation. Most people, however, will need either some lifelong help or be able to take baby steps.
With the paleo diet you can start slowly. As long as you commit to a long term plan, you could for example, eat just one MORE orange per day for a week. Then, eat one MORE chicken breast with a meal every day for the next week. The next week, you could eliminate all dairy… This way you can “ease” into the diet and if you stop progressing, well, at least you’ve made some sustainable changes that you can benefit from for life.
Ok, so this is a work in progress and I’m not done yet. I’d like to add more studies to it, but don’t want to make it too boring. What do you think? And I’d like to make it the “top 10 reasons” the paleo diet is the best way to lose weight, but I have too many reasons. Which reasons should I keep?